Staying in flats with no playground around, Michael and Harrison decided to make a killing out of a game that many did not fancy. They had collected enough materials and built a table, erected a net across the middle and bought rackets and ping pong balls as well. They turned one of the properly ventilated condos owned by Harrison’s dad into a club and set up the tennis table and the necessary requirements.
The room was stuffy and dusty though.
Michael and Harrison, famously called Mike and Harry, had to do a thorough cleaning in the room; Mike bought soap, brought a bucket from their family house while Harry bought a broom and borrowed a mop from their house. It was not a mean feat since the room had been left for a while before use, it had rags from Harry’s dad’s previous business, it was dusty, dark when windows are locked and had some insects moving around the walls and the floor. Even with all that, Mike and Harry were determined to turn it into a table tennis club.
“Once we are done setting up the room, we will have to print some posters for people to know that at least there is a place where they can play games,” Harry quipped.
Mike was busy scrubbing the sink when he turned to show Harry that he was listening.
“Yes, that is a good idea. But before that, we need to test it out ourselves before we go public with it.”
“Not a bad idea! We should also determine how much the players are going to pay. We can also introduce some club rules to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance when we have many customers,” Harry said fiddling with one of the chairs in the room which was a bit weak.
The two teens continued talking while doing the cleanup till around 12 noon when Mike said that he had to leave shortly. Mike had planned to meet Trevor, his best friend. He had insisted that they meet at Java Lounge to have some coffee while deliberating on some business ideas.
Seems like this is not business to him; what other business is he going to discuss? Harry wondered why Mike had to stop such a great team work to meet a friend. Mike had mentioned about the business but he was not specific as to what kind of business it was.
Harry was tall and well built with a coarse voice and big lips. He had long hair that he used leather strips to tie at the back. On the contrary, Mike was short, a mixed race of African and Japanese, spiky hairstyle, darker complexion than most mixed races bringing Asians and Africans. They had been friends since back when they were children. Though Mike was the smaller one, he was the toughest guy, the protector. He had a short background in martial arts, a fact that boosted his confidence.
“I will come right back once I am done with Trevor,” Mike said leaving the door.
“Don’t forget that we need to finish this work today so that we can start tomorrow,” Harry reminded him.
“You need not say!” Mike said approaching the staircases.
Harry was left alone to finish the cleaning work. There were no friends around to help him. He could only hear some voices from afar while there was also some musical sounds coming from different houses. Harry continued alone without stopping. He cleaned the windows, the seats, threw out some old clothes he had found in a polythene bag. He was all over the place, he was getting worn out, his face was looking frail due to the kind of work he had been doing all morning.
At around 1.30pm, Harry thought it wise to go for lunch and pick the ping pong balls that he had left in the house. He also wanted to go and pick up his sports suit. Before reaching the door, he saw that Mike was walking back slowly along with Trevor. They had decided to spend most of their time in the condo instead of spending so much time at Java.
“You guys can continue while I get something to eat and bring the rackets and the ping pong balls,” Harry said headed for the staircases.
Mike and Trevor continued with the work and made sure that everything was clean and arranged in order. Just like some proper timing, when they were done and wanted to lazily hang around, Harry came back with the rackets and the balls.
“Let’s set the whole thing up and test the game today before we can open it up for everyone else tomorrow,” Harry said putting the rackets and the ping pong balls on a table adjacent to the wall. “We need to enjoy it a bit before anyone else does.”
“You are right, buddy! Let’s fix the table in order,” Mike said headed to where the table was at one of the corners.
They had moved it while doing the cleaning.
They set up the table and tested the game and realized that they could truly enjoy table tennis in the room. The room had a heater and windows open to the outside making it ideal even when there are many people around.
“Yes, here we go,” Mike said hitting the ball towards Harry.
It went for a few turns and the ball bounced twice on Harry’s side and Harry held the ball signaling Trevor to play the game as well. Trevor picked up the ping pong ball and one of the rackets, positioned himself well and hit it. After a few rounds it fell on Mike’s side and they signaled each other that it was time to stop.
“Oh, just a moment guys. Before you stop, let me take a picture of you playing so that we can use it on the poster,” Harry said.
Mike and Trevor then continued playing the tennis while Harry was struggling to get the right shot. He was using his iPhone. The quality was good enough for the poster.
Harry turned around, confirmed that the room was super clean, everything well arranged and the tennis table well stationed and he smiled. Mike and Trevor noticed and they smiled as well.
“That’s a plastic smile, man,” Harry said to Mike.
“I noticed as well,” Trevor responded.
“Good for you guys, at least you have metal smiles,” Mike said carelessly.
Harry busted out laughing and Trevor followed. Mike also couldn’t control it and they all started laughing.
Mike then asked Harry to get his Mac Book so that they could design the poster and have it pinned on the notice board at the gate and a few other places on the street. Harry left and came back with an HP Elite Book which apparently belonged to the mother.
“I do not have a good application in the Mac Book, so I thought it wise to take mom’s, we finish the work quickly and return it before she comes back,” Harry said starting up the notebook.
“You know what? We spent time and money to get these posters done and so you better do us a favor by simply reading them. You won’t ask us about how much or where once you read.”
Trevor kind of felt Mike was being rude, but he couldn’t do a thing. Mike was tough and always made most of the decisions whenever they were together. Harry had gotten used to Mike and his behaviour. Both Trevor and Harry were smarter than Mike, that’s a fact, but still they respected Mike. They knew that in Mike they had good security and a decision maker when things were tough.
When they were through with hanging the posters, they went back to the tennis club.
It was around 4.30pm and teens started streaming in. Some were coming with their ping pong balls while others were coming with their rackets. By around 5.00pm, they had so many people in the queue waiting to play the game.
Money was streaming in and both Mike and Harry were all smiles. They had discovered a cash cow; they found a way to make some money as young people waiting to go to college. They were doing it through sports. They were not in crime. They were happy about it.They almost faced trouble on the third day when Harry’s father came back from his foreign business trip. He was told about what Harry and Mike had been doing with the condo. He was not amused! Before he even settled in the house, he picked up the extra key to the and headed straight to the condo. Harry’s mom thought the dad would overreact so she followed behind him.
He was astonished! The room was warm and welcoming. All the dust and the rugs were gone. He found the three boys, Harry, Mike and Trevor, playing. He had planned to dismantle everything, but he was out of words. In truth, he was amazed. Though he was initially pissed off, though he was huge, though the condo was his, though Harry was his son and he had all the powers, he chose to give them a big up.
“You guys are amazing. You have no idea what I had planned to do,” he exclaimed heading to meet Harry who was coming to greet him.
“Thank you, Dad. I am sorry I didn’t tell you, but I knew I was not doing something wrong. I had planned to inform you about this immediately when you got back,” Harry said beaming with pride and smiles.
Harry’s dad, mom and Harry all hugged tight before letting go to say hello to Mike and Trevor.
Harry, Mike and Trevor were making a lot of money, they were having a lot of fun, they bought a plasma screen, they bought a PS3, they were happy, and they named the club THE DECISION.